Article by Richard Cannings, Trail Times
Cannabis was legalized in Canada this October, but unfortunately the federal government didn’t include one important piece in that legislation: expungement of the records of a half million Canadians with criminal records for simple possession of cannabis.
These people are saddled with a criminal record for doing something that we now consider completely legal. And a criminal record is a serious problem—you are barred from international travel, barred from many jobs, and even barred from many community volunteer positions such as coaching. In Toronto, 15% of people on social welfare cite “Need for a Record Suspension” as a key barrier to employment. Renting an apartment with a criminal record can be a problem.
My colleague Murray Rankin, MP for Victoria, has tabled a private members bill in the House of Commons that would expunge these records, and I spoke in favour of the bill last Friday. For their part, the government is suggesting that they may introduce legislation next year allowing those with possession records to apply for pardons, but expungement is much more appropriate and effective in this case than pardons.